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Bush to sign law on India N-deal today

With the US president appending his signature to the law, the stage will be set for writing the deal's next chapter.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 11:51 IST

President George Bush stamps his approval of the India-US civil nuclear deal by signing a landmark law allowing sale of nuclear fuel and technology to India after 30 years at a momentous White House ceremony on Monday morning.

With Bush appending his signature at 10:45 am 9:15 pm (IST) to the compromise legislation emerging from a Senate-House conference to address India's concerns over it, the stage would be set for writing the next chapter of the deal.

The new law authorises Bush to waive sanctions against India under section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act 1954 for exploding nuclear devices in 1974 and 1998 and negotiate specific terms of such cooperation.

New Delhi also has to negotiate an India specific Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and get the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on board before the deal again goes for a final approval to the US Congress.

Although in India's view the new law still has some "extraneous and prescriptive" provisions, the Congress did go to some length to address New Delhi's concerns by changing several provisions into non-binding suggestions or turning them into just presidential reporting requirements.

The White House ceremony is expected to be attended, among others, by secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, Congressmen, diplomats and others instrumental in getting the deal approved by the US Congress.

Leading lights of the Indian American community and US business who had lobbied hard to get Congressional approval of a deal that could provide them with $100 billion worth of new opportunities in India in the energy sector alone also figure among the invitees.

First Published: Dec 18, 2006 09:56 IST